In 2002, about 5% of Americans over 75 were working. Last year, that jumped to 8.33%, and according to the U.S. Labor Department, by 2032, 10% will be on the job. Younger boomers are even more represented in the workforce, with 26% of people ages 65 to 74 still working.
WINK says this demographic is one of the fastest-growing groups of U.S. workers, though, admittedly, this is a small fraction of the U.S. workforce. The oldest baby boomers turn 78 in 2024—and the youngest hit 60!
WINK News says the jump is due, in part, to baby boomers’ shifting views about retirement and the need to work due to insufficient retirement savings. And better health is also a major factor. Bob Morison, a senior advisor at consultancy Age Wave and the co-author of What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life’s Third Age, told WINK that older Americans “are, thanks to medical science, living longer than their parents and grandparents, and they [have a] different attitude. They’re aware they have more years and that there’s a lot of time to fill.”
Ruth Finkelstein, the executive director of Hunter College’s Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, told WINK that while most older workers are employees, about 25% of people over 70 in the workforce are self-employed business owners.
While the latest BizBuySell Insight Report shows “a large number of boomers are retiring” and selling their businesses, about 20% of older boomers are “looking to open” a new business.
While taking on a new business venture in your 70s may seem like a counter-intuitive idea, Peter Kraus, who at 78 still owns Ursus Books, the rare bookstore he started in the 1970s, told WINK, “I adore what I do, and I’ve never contemplated giving it up. Why…stop it? Nobody can fire me—there’s nobody to say you have to stop.”
If your business is struggling to find employees, you might consider hiring older workers. And if you’re an older entrepreneur and still love what you do, you can follow the advice of Curtis Mayfield, who wrote, “ We just keep on keeping on.”